Right about now, it’s hard to find hope.
And it’s difficult to feel hopeful.
But there must be as many ways to find what’s lost as there are ways to lose something in the first place. So, now that hope feels a little lost, I’ve been searching.
I found a kind of hope I’ll call awe.
The awe of standing so small alongside the towering magnificence of a mountain fills my heart with hope and exhilarates my imagination. I felt awe several times this summer and each time, I was interacting with a view, a place, a piece of the world so much bigger than I. The mountains. The ocean. A big and bustling city.
Maybe being filled with awe is like in kind to feeling centered and prayerful.
Maybe as I stood top-side on a boat scanning an ocean as far and wide as my eye could see, maybe I somehow felt like the only silent and still entity for miles around. Maybe surrounded by the vastness of all that water, I felt more like an anchor and less adrift and at the whim of the waves.
Maybe climbing a mountain to its peak is some sort of symbol of life’s hike to the heavens. And maybe up there in all that open air of the summit, it’s easier to breathe. Easier to believe. Easier to understand I am but one person in a very big, very confusing world. Maybe it takes some of the pressure off.
I found a kind of hope I’ll call beauty.
I keep looking for the beauty all around me and find it with a bit of conscious effort. A few internal reminders help me understand the fact that the world’s ugliness must in some way, however large or small, be counteracted by its beauty. Its complexity opposed by its simplicity. Its violence, contrasted by moments – however brief – of peace.
Many times it’s nature offering up all that counterintelligence – the perfect, pink curl of a zinnia petal. The softest summer light at sunset on the river. The quiet call of a barred owl after midnight.
There’s beauty too in the smile of a friend, or my son, or the stranger behind me in line at the grocery store. There’s a simple kind of knowing we trade in a smile. There’s a peaceful ease and delight to be had in the sharing of music, a meal, or a book I think you simply must read. There’s happiness to be found in the hugs we exchange, the return of a long-gone someone special, and the hand I hold walking across a busy street.
I found a kind of hope I’ll call comfort.
Amidst all the daily confusion and unpredictability of the world, I find comfort in the regular and routine. The washing of dishes. My time at the gym. Or the smell of the black ink from my favorite Bic pen.
There’s comfort in the rhythm of chopping vegetables for dinner. There’s routine in the patterns and schedules of a work day. There’s the regularity and a kind of grounding to be had in the habits of a day’s end … the brushing of teeth, the pages turned in a bedtime read, and one last I love you before turning out the light.
There’s more hope to be had, I’m sure of it. And while hope changes nothing about today’s worries, it does perhaps brighten tomorrow with anticipation and the power of possibility.
So I’ll keep looking for and finding hope … in the innocent eyes of a child, the happy wag of a dog’s tail, and in the gentle, morning breeze through my open kitchen window.
And as long as I keep looking … I know hope will be found.